New study recommends doctors periodically update patients' family history
Jul 18, 2011
Family health history is one of the primary determining factors in developing certain cancers, especially colon and breast cancer. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) states that family histories aren't static and need to be periodically updated.
Dr. Gail Tomlinson, one of the study's authors said, "The bottom line is that it is important for physicians to update patients' family history over time." The study recommends that a patient's family history of cancer be updated every five to 10 years while the person is between 30 and 60 years old.
The study focused on more than 11,000 patients over the course of 10 years, starting in 1999. The JAMA research proved that the pertinent family history of many of the patients had significantly altered between the ages of 30 and 50.
Around half of the women in the study were recommended to have high-risk breast cancer screenings after changes in their family history, while the number of those at risk of developing colon cancer increased threefold.
According to the American Cancer Society, women are at a greater risk of developing breast cancer if a close blood relative on either the mother or father's side has the disease. A woman's risk can double if she has a mother, sister or daughter who develops breast cancer.